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16 October 2014
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A Lisbellaw Collection

Over the years we all collect things - usually not intentionally - things just, sort of, gather about us.

Article by Brian Willis.

ML 1030

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Over the years we all collect things - usually not intentionally - things just, sort of, gather about us. Things that have passed their usefulness. Yet most of us are not strong willed enough to discard until, perhaps, a house move forces a 'red' out, or things pile up so much that a good clear out is the only answer.

Sam Carrothers studies the Family Bible
Sam Carrothers studies the Family Bible
Names written in this heirloom go back to 1835
Nine generations

Not so in Sam Carrothers' case, for the family has not moved from the Carrybridge area near Lisbellaw, Fermanagh for - wait for it - nine generations. Lisbellaw is about seven miles east of Enniskillen. The Carrothers Clan came from the north side of the Scottish borders c1618 at the time of the Plantation. But these were not Planters but Reivers, and their move here was more a question of being "shipped out" of Scotland rather than arriving here as the Landed Gentry. No, they came not as landlords, but tenant farmers. However, they were also artisans and brought with them the skill of carpentry. A skill which incidentally has passed down the generations, for Sam makes wonderful wooden farm gates which, although utilitarian, are jointed and bolted in a most artistic and craftsman-like way. Sam sells these gates to the local farmers.

Local History

In nine generations you can collect a huge amount of "things" and from this statement you'll probably assume the Carrothers' farmstead is coming down with a clatter of disorganised papers and junk. Not so. For Sam has an insatiable appetite for history, particularly local history (He was chairman of the local history society for several years) So to help his research, all these precious family papers, drawings, photos, stamps, certificates, postcards etc. are meticulously arranged in albums.

1700's Rush lamp
1700's Rush lamp

And there are hundreds of artifacts too, carefully preserved in boxes and glass fronted cupboards, such as this 1700's rush light used in the Farnagh farm kitchen'

There's also the iron cannon ball used by generations of Carrothers children pretending to be shot putters.

On to Page 2 of Lisbellaw Collection


Gary Russell - February '08
What fantastic memories you must be able to conjour up Sam, not just your own, but things that have been passed to you by word of mouth and all the history you and your family have compiled.
I have an interest in Lisbellaw.
I am from Liverpool, but my mum is from Lisbellaw and I spent the happiest times of my life there during summer holidays on my uncles small holding.
I remember warm sunny days on the loughside at Magiures Bridge, having to go the well for water, parafin lamps to light the cottage- it was only in the late 60's.
Being a city boy it was a culture shock for me, but I loved every minute of it and would love to go back one day.
Sam, I wonder if you ever heard this little poem?
My uncle George used to say it to me and it's stayed in my head:

In Lisneskea they drink the tea,
Maguires Bridge for brandy,
In Lisbellaw they chew the straw,
and Enniskellens dandy.

Hope your keeping well Sam,
Thanks for stirring up so many memories for me, You take care of you and yours, Gary.

John Runningwolf - Feb '08
Some years ago, I helped Sam identify the locale of a map engraved on a powder horn. I have lost his e-mail address, and I would like to contact him . I kept all the photos of the horn and of Sam and his home, but I have lost the sketch of the map from the horn. It happens that another person has contacted me about another powder horn engraved with a map of the same general area, but obviously of a different time, yet still in old Cherokee days.

If Sam reads this or anyone who knows Sam personally reads it, I would like to hear from him. I can also send him a photo of the present powder horn.


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